She Will Reign? Yes She Does!

The fairy tale filly romps home to victory in the Gr.1 Golden Slipper (Sharon Lee Chapman).


Imagine investing $30,000 and walking away with $4,697,850!

Sound impossible? Unlikely, but not impossible as Darby Racing has proven with the purchase and syndication of two brilliant 2YOs in the past two seasons: Yankee Rose and newest star turn in Saturday’s Group One Longines Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) winner, She Will Reign.

Yankee Rose cost just $10,000 at the 2015 Inglis Sydney Classic Yearling Sale before Darby Racing returned to the scene of the climb 12 months later where this time they spent $20,000 on a Manhattan Rain filly.

You couldn’t possibly get a better advertisement for your company with those feathers in your cap, but from an industry perspective, the number of new owners this success has attracted cannot be quantified.

All we know is that the Rosehill Bowling Club might never be the same after She Will Reign’s owners descended upon the watering hole to give full vent to their collective excitement following the Slipper.

A very croaky Mark Holland (from cheering?) said on Monday morning that he was still receiving text messages from owners out celebrating and agreed the victory was a wonderful advertisement for thoroughbred racing.

“The number of first time owners in both the She Will Reign and Yankee Rose syndicates is around 50/50,” Holland, the Racing Manager for Darby Racing, reveals. “We try and point out to them that you have to be realistic, that it’s a hard game sometimes, but quite a few of the new guys in She Will Reign said initially they’d just be happy with a win in the bush.

“These syndicates are great for racing though because a number of the new owners had already re-invested in other horses prior to She Will Reign’s Slipper win.

“I spoke to Scott (Darby) on Sunday and he was telling me that he’d never seen anything like the number of enquiries he was getting.

“It’s certainly made a lot of difference for the business (Darby Racing) because it allowed us to buy 35 horses last year and instead of having to go out and attract clients, they’re now ringing you.

“We’ve bought 17 youngsters so far this year and are making a concerted effort with the colts after all the success with fillies like She Will Reign and Yankee Rose.

“Darby Racing has had some good colts before with Time For War (a $56,000 purchase at the 2013 Inglis Scone Yearling Sale) winning a pair of Group Twos before heading off to stud. Unfortunately, he died recently but, as luck would have it, he has a half brother to She Will Reign that foaled down last spring, while there’s another Time For War in the belly.

“I somehow don’t think we’ll be able to purchase the half brother for $20,000!”

Holland was also quick to praise the Australian Turf Club – particularly Ashleigh McGregor and Laurie Macri – for allowing so many of She Will Reign’s owners into the Members’ on Saturday.

“Laurie said to me after the Silver Slipper that he would do his best to accommodate all the owners for the Golden Slipper and he was true to his word, with around 80 of them on course. Sure, the clubs have to be realistic about the number of people you can get into the mounting yard, but the post-race celebrations added so much to the theatre of the day and really helps to stimulate the whole industry.

“A phenomenal experience. One we’ll never forget!”

Celebrations were a tad more subdued, but no less welcomed, at Blue Gum Farm in Victoria which will stand She Will Reign’s sire, Manhattan Rain, from this spring onwards.

Blue Gum secured Manhattan Rain in February and since the announcement, the stallion has gone from strength to strength with the continued rise of She Will Reign, while Whisky Baron won South Africa’s pre-eminent Group One – the SunMet – and is poised to embark on a global campaign.

“Manhattan Rain was very popular before Saturday, but I have to admit there’s been a lot of phone calls since 4.15pm on Saturday, including communication with a number of well respected breeders,” Blue Gum principal, Phil Campbell, points out. “He’s certainly a very handy addition to Victoria’s stallion ranks and, after consultation with the owners, we’ll be announcing his fee for 2017 over the next few days.”

Blue Gum has been a stalwart of the Victorian breeding industry and launched the career of a number of leading stallions, including Encosta de Lago, before his re-location to the Hunter Valley.

Clearly perseverance has its own rewards: “We originally made a play for Manhattan Rain before he was retired from racing and tried again last year.

“Anyway, his owners (Teeley Assets) were keen to re-locate him to Victoria and we were very keen to stand him. He’s a lovely type with good fertility and has settled in well since arriving. It’s worth remembering that the horse is only 11 years old and there’s so much upside.”

Especially after Saturday!

The Power of Passion